To avoid a motor vehicle accident, it is absolutely essential that you be able to see while operating your motor vehicle. Equally important is being seen. All drivers know that the law requires you to turn on your headlights when it starts to get dark. However, some may not be aware of other times when headlights are needed.
In this article, we will review Wisconsin’s headlight laws, just in case you don’t know some of the specifics of the laws.
Wisconsin headlight laws
The most important Wisconsin headlight laws are as follows.
Obviously headlights help you see at night and help others see you. However, if you’ve been driving during daylight hours, you may forget to turn on your headlights at dusk. The key here is that if you have trouble seeing the road or other vehicles, you need to turn on your headlights. If you should see other vehicles driving without their headlights on, flick your headlights to alert them. Law enforcement officials even suggest driving with your headlights on during the day for optimal visibility, but it is not required by law. The best advice is to turn on your headlights 30 minutes after sunset, 30 minutes before sunrise, or anytime you cannot see a person or object clearly within 500 feet.
Inclement weather, like rain, fog and snow makes it difficult to see others and for others to see you. In 2016, the Wisconsin State Legislature implemented the Headlight Visibility Law. The law states drivers must turn on their headlights when weather conditions limit visibility. Limited visibility means objects are not visible 500 feet from the vehicle. Failure to follow the law could result in a ticket that could cost $160.
The operator of a vehicle must keep headlights, reflectors and rear lights reasonably clean and in proper working condition at all times.
Every moped or motorcycle must be equipped with at least one and not more than 2 headlamps.
Motorcycles must drive with their headlights on at all times, day or night.
You can use your high beams whenever there are no oncoming vehicles, as they let you see twice as far as low beams. If you are driving on unfamiliar roads, construction zones or where there may be others along the side of the road use your high beam headlights to see approaching objects. However, high beams must be dimmed when within 500 ft. of an approaching vehicle or within 500 ft. of the vehicle ahead of you.
For snowmobiles, headlights must be used when it is dark and when riding on a highway right-of-way.
Hazard lights should only be used when your vehicle is disabled or to signal caution for other drivers.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, prior to the Headlight Visibility law, more than 300 people in Wisconsin were injured in crashes where drivers didn’t have their headlights turned on. Don’t be a statistic. Stay aware of Wisconsin’s headlight laws.
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